Back To Drawing Board On Teacher Raises: Lawmakers React
OKLAHOMA CITY - It’s back to the drawing board at the state Capitol after a Senate bill to give teachers 12.7 percent raises failed late Wednesday night.
Even if the bill had passed in the Senate, it would have failed in the House of Representatives. Democrats said it came nowhere near the $3.3 billion teachers are demanding.
The clock is ticking and teachers are getting closer and closer to their April 2 walkout date.
Maegan Runnels, 12, and her classmates at Cache Middle school are lobbying lawmakers for raises for teachers. For Maegan it’s more personal though, her father is a high school teacher and a single dad.
Runnels said, “My mom died from brain cancer and so, he’s an only parent taking care of two kids, me and my sister and he only gets $35,000 each year. And our house burned down recently so...”
So, things are tough right now.
“I mean we have food and everything. I have a bedroom, but we’re living in a house from my grandmother, so it’s hard,” Runnels continued.
A Senate bill that would have provided $5,000 raises by increasing taxes on tobacco, fuel and the gross production tax failed Wednesday night.
Democrats said it didn’t go far enough toward giving teachers the $10,000 raises they’re demanding for themselves, plus the raises they want for support staff and state workers.
“In the market sector economy any employee who received a 12.7 percent increase would probably be appreciative. And any employee who went and demanded their employer, ‘I want 12.7 percent’, might be shown the door,” said Senator Julie Daniels (R) Oklahoma City.
House Democrats didn’t support the plan, and without Dems it’s DOA.
“I think maybe this was their way of saying we did something. But even of it had passed, like I said it wouldn’t have passed the House and it wasn’t enough,” said Representative Emily Virgin (D) Democratic Caucus Chair.
If the Senate bill does not pass the next time it’s pitched, it can be put to a vote of the people.